Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The past week has had a lot of activity in it and I am reaching the edge of my current ability to go on. My Achilles isn’t bad, really, but it is still bothering me after a very active weekend. I found that taping in helped a lot, and I have an appointment with a specialist tomorrow. We will see what he says.

My elbow feels great. It stiffened up on me a little bit over the weekend but never hurt. I will probably not fight 10 days in a row this Pennsic. I now have to worry about my Achilles tendon as well.

I have been working out like a madman. Last week I took a conditioning class, I went to the gym, I biked 20 miles, I ran 5k, and I fought at SRWC. That was a lot of work. I have been feeling it physically. After running on Friday my Achilles tendon really hurt, and I did not rest it over the weekend but instead fought both days. It still aches (though a long bike ride yesterday didn't help). I feel strong but I have not lost any weight. This week, because I have a race on Saturday, I have toned it down. I fought on Sunday and biked yesterday, but that will be it.

War camp was pretty light for me. There was a lot of running around, but not much else. I didn’t do any sword and shield work at all. In the open field battles I used the pole ax and in the town battles I used a spear. I didn’t fight in the bridge battles at all. I am an adequate spear man and pole fighter, and I got a few good kills. I always try to use the spear like a long rapier, and it is fairly effective. I was paying particular attention to the now standard two-inch tips and found that they definitely hit harder than the old three-inch tips. Every hit I took was harder than I am used to, and once I got gakked. Worse yet, I totally jacked someone up without meaning to. He was just a little closer than I expected him to be. I hit him with a normal powered shot, but I could tell as it landed that it was excessive. He was shocked at how hard I had hit him. The worst thing I noticed as a knight who had his cheek-plate driven into his face so that a marble-sized welt raised on his cheek-bone. This was in a well-made helmet on which the chin-strap remained intact. In the third open field battle I got run down by Max, and while backing away from him and throwing shots my Achilles started hurting. I left the field for the next battle and taped it up. After that it was ok, but achy the rest of the day. Needless to say I was not on top of my game.

The next day was the Riverdale Riverfest. The SCA had a big presence, with the very good Ostardr demo team showing off fiber arts, calligraphy, archery, armor making, and heavy fighting. We only had seven fighters for the first demo, but it went off well and drew a big crowd. Later some guys from Team USA, who were there to receive a certificate and a flag from the local congressman, put on a demo. I have said all along that, as cool as I find what they do and as much as I look forward to doing it myself, it could be a death-knell for the SCA. They drew twice the crowd at their demo that we drew to ours. What they did was exciting and flashy and loud. It wasn’t as technically interesting or as aesthetically pleasing, but nobody but a purist cares about that. What they do will draw some people away from the SCA. Those who want a more “real” experience will gravitate to BOTN, as will the fighters, many of the knights and dukes, who have advocated for years that the SCA go to a more period fighting style. Most of them will stay and play with us and fight at Pennsic, but their energies will be directed to BOTN. If we play it right it will help our membership, but it is a fine line to walk. They have a good product.  We had a brief fighting demo after the BOTN guys, and that was when I had the most fun. I fought mostly with the buckler. I got Tormundr with a classic counter-punch off a leg shot, and I even killed Louis when I was fighting short-sword and buckler versus his symphony of thrusting tips. At the end of the day we held a tournament for the unbelted fighters. The two BOTN fighters who were not knights fought in it, so we had six fighters competing in a round robin. Small tourneys are a good for demos, and those spectators that stayed enjoyed the show. Louis de Castillo won.

This Saturday is the Rugged Maniac 5k in Brooklyn. Although I will be at practice to teach tomorrow night I don’t plan on fighting again until possibly Monday in An Dubagghin. I am planning to compete in the King’s Champion tournament next weekend. It is 29 days till Pennsic. 


Max said...

As olympic skiing is the pinnacle (forgive the pun) of a wide range of skiing-oriented activities including the occasional lodge-goer, the dedicated hobbyist, amateur athletes, and professional/olympians... so, too, will there rightly be an entire ecosystem of medieval martial artists. The SCA will naturally play the role of "Big Tent" for those occasional "lodge-goers" up through the dedicated hobbyists and amateur athletes and act as something of a feeder, much like amateur skiing, for the more intense, expensive, and elite activities like jousting and BotN. My $.02.

Steve Muhlberger said...

I dispute that BotN style is a more period style of combat. What period does it represent? Seriously!

M.A. Cramer/Valgard said...

Steve: I would not presume to dispute with you on this point. That is your wheel house, not mine!

Steve Muhlberger said...

The point of my point, however , is that BotN is the expression of modern needs and symbolism, as is the SCA. And there is a price to be paid for taking that path which people who are not obsessed with righting the wrongs of 20th century Eastern Europe may not want to pay for long. How long will BotN fighters last?,

simon rohrich said...

The HMB ruleset used at BoTN is an exact duplication of a tournement from the 15th century. This format of fighting has been going on in other part of the world for 5-10 years before we showed up. How long? I don't know. A living martial art goes through changes. It can even split, not unlike Judo and Jujitsu.

Steve Muhlberger said...


Simon Rohrich said...

First, the difference between a martial sport and a martial art. In a sportstournament, you fight to win. There simply is no holding back. So, there are certain rules to allow the fighters to leave the fight alive and without too many broken bones.
In a sport fight, we do not pretend the fight to be a serious fight to live and death, but we do all we are allowed to do to win.
In a martial art, you train the most effective techniques to kill or maim you opponent, but you would never try to use them to their ultimate goal against another practitioner of your art. You have written many well done and researched web articles on tournaments so your question just seems like you have an ax to grind. This took me about 20 minutes on Google. If I spoke Russian I would get the exact tournament Source Tiptoff rules 1466 and King Rene's Tournament Book